"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Eucharisteo.... and back to school

One of my favorite things about summer is easily the ability to read, read, read without much interruption.  While I do read lots of silly, 'frivolous' books, I mainly focus on reading books I can learn from.  For no other reason than that is what interests me.  I feel like my relationship with God grows so much during the summer because I have so much time to devote to Him.  That is the hardest part about back to school for me.  (That and missing Jude so much I cry.)  It's kind of like youth camp as a kid and returning from that.  There is nothing more satisfying to me that pouring myself into that.

I read a book this summer called "1000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  (here)  It was one of the best books I've ever read, and I plan on starting it again soon.  It's that good.  It's a beautiful, albeit raw and real, story of someone's struggle to see God's grace in the everyday ugly beautiful as she so accurately calls it.  It is so easy to get caught up in the to do's and the stress of every day life.  And so she started numbering the little gifts of everyday life.

For example :  Yesterday I ended up stuck in traffic for awhile trying to get to Target.  But it gave Jude some extra time to nap- a gift. Grace.  Ugly-beautiful.  And a moment to pause and worship the God who is there and ever present in my life in even the smallest of things.  She often refers to the word 'eucharisteo' which is a Greek word literally meaning to give thanks, but coming from root words for grace and joy.  And so the challenge is to see God's grace in ALL things, the respond with thanks, and thus be filled with joy.

As I embark on a new school year, this is my mantra.  The reality with a job like teaching is that I am working with a bunch of little humans raised by humans.  There's some ugly moments.  Kids make mistakes.  They choose not to listen.  They learn your buttons and try to push them.  They deal with things at home I can only try to imagine, but they come to school with the full weight of those burdens on them.  While most of the time their reactions to those burdens are both not directed at me nor in my control, it can be emotionally taxing.  Seeing the darkness in a child's life as you make cps referral after referral makes finding joy seem impossible.  You can feel surrounded by the ugly.

BUT GOD is in the midst of those ugly circumstances.  The moments I want to pull my hair out.  Or cry.  Or run out of the building to never return.  Eucharisteo.  Those moments, I know, are full of beauty if I only open my eyes to it.  God has a plan for me and all these 18+ children that is full of hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  I'm challenging myself to really count the gifts in the midst of these everyday moments with my kids.  To see even the difficult as beautiful, worthy of being thankful for, to find joy in.  Joy is contagious, and what better thing to pass to my children than joy in the everyday.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

On a side note- if you are ever going about your day and prompted to think of all the teachers and students, pray diligently for them.  I know I long to be covered in 1000 prayers every second of the day.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jude Says...

Me: Jude can I have some bedtime kisses?

Jude: Mmmm someday. (very matter of factly)

He then leaned over and gave me one.  Clearly he doesn't know the meaning of someday, but it was funny.

I apologize for the fact that this little blog space has turned in to very little Jude and a whole lot of my thoughts on life.  I suppose part of that is I am so much more comfortable with putting myself out there for public viewing as opposed to my kiddo.  He's more fun the more he learns to talk.  I feel like his language exploded this past week when we went to West Virginia to visit family.  There were so many elementary/middle school cousins who Jude was completely enthralled with.  He learned so much, including a cat joke, which he has gotten down pretty well.  So cute.  I am trying to get him to cooperate for that one video.  I really want to get better at capturing all these moments because they slip away all too quickly.  Unfortunately, even during the summer I find myself scattered and tired and ending the day looking around wondering what in the world I did all day.

Anyway, Jude is growing up to be a real sweet heart.  I am often amazed at the amount of grace God has given Jude, and really me.  He is so easy.  Tantrums are pretty much nonexistent.  When he tests limits, I just have to say go to time out and he walks himself over there.  Easiest kid ever.  I'm pretty sure I've said this, but I really think God has had a lot of mercy on me and the fact that I'm a single mom.  The discipline thing is just too easy for there to not be a whole lot of divine intervention.  That being said, what I get as grace for difficult behavior, I make up for in sheer insanity.  Jude is one wild kid.  One day I asked him to quiet down for a minute, and he looked at me and said "What? I'm just making noise."  He likes to spell his name for me now.  I've been practicing that with him for who knows how long.  But he just walks about spelling it now.  Pretty exciting- you know, teacher stuff.

Anyway I want to get better about writing the things he's saying down.  Not for anyone.  I just want to remember it.

Monday, August 13, 2012